What Boat do you use and why? - Page 2 - Spey Pages
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post #16 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-23-2019, 11:06 AM
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The "drop stitch floor" is a technology of inflatable that is very rigid and can be inflated to a higher pressure. It provides a rigid floor that you can stand on very well and is also buoyant to help keep the raft up in the water column. This is what is used on inflatable SUP's, so basically you have an SUP as your raft floor. You won't really want to use cleated boots on them as it is still a raft material and can be punctured.
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post #17 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-23-2019, 12:47 PM
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Location: California waters- Trinity River, Truckee River, The Eel and The SF Bay Delta
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I have a '14 Hyde XL LowPro and I love it. Great platform to fish from, plenty of storage. I have the Yeti cooler with the seat attached in the rear and bench for the front. Rows like a dream. Does take a beating though in bony waters.... Seems like they tend to hold their value a little better too...

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post #18 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-23-2019, 01:06 PM
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My purpose for a boat is strictly transportation, to get me into spots that are otherwise inaccessible. My first boat was a 14ft woodie. I had it for three years, learned a lot about drift boats, & customized it a little bit. But you can't store a wood boat outside, so when a deal on a 15 ft cataraft came up, I sold the woodie & bought the cat.

A word about two handed fly rods. Fully assembled !5 ft rods do not travel well in the average boat or raft. I was able to bungie a 15 foot rod to the frame of the cat, but it's kinda scary thinking about a bungie letting go at the worst possible time.

I also discovered inflatables are not exactly immune to the weather. UV is not good for them, and you have to watch the pressure. Air expands with heat & compresses with cold. The cat was wide & rode above the wheels on the trailer, as most rafts do. To say rear visibility is limited is an understatement. My trailer had no winch so you had to man handle that boat back up on the trailer. We took the cat down thru the wild & scenic section of the Rogue one time & then sold it.

My next boat was a 9 ft Bucks Bronco. I bought an EZ loader for the motor home & took it up to Smithers & fished the Bulckley & the Morice with it. when I got home from that trip I built a rod carrier out of 3" PVC pipe. If I have to, I can carry a 15ft rod broken down. Usually a 13ft rod hanging out the back. It does the job, but it's a royal PITA getting the toon down out of the rafters & loading that boat on top of the SUV, & the EZ Loader is a pain just getting it out from behind all the $**t in the garage.

I stumbled across a deal on an almost new 16ft Clackacraft w/ the gulf stream bottom on the way home from that Smithers trip. With Sawyer Square top oars & Cobra oar locks, that boat rows like a dream. I can stand to see whats up ahead & row, I can skull the boat side ways down thru a run, Slow the boat to a crawl, slide it over low water riffles that would stop most other boats. I've even worked out a system for storing 13ft rods completely inside the boat while floating the river. Needles to say I can carry a lot of gear, and two other people. The only thing I've found I cannot do is use a propane heater in the boat. I can live with that.
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post #19 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-23-2019, 01:27 PM
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Catchercraft Sea Run Bull, nice little boat!
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post #20 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-23-2019, 01:39 PM
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Here are some below avg pics of my platforms and drop stitch floor.

Sent from my SM-G965W using Tapatalk
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post #21 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-23-2019, 02:05 PM
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rafts- on longevity- pvc (aire) hardens and gets more brittle with age and UVs but is more slippery. you can often do a quick patch on just the bladder w/ tape, but removing the bladders is still a pain. Hypalon is more maintenance free and more straightforward tho time consuming to patch. lasts a lifetime for most. bucket boats are cheaper, save a tiny bit on weight, but I would never want one.

raft frames can get much heavier with more bells and whistles. a busy frame is full of line snags, and can make your raft heavier than a drift boat. for a swinger, what do you REALLY need ? KISS

driftboats are easy on-off the trailer but not as versatile (low water) and more limited on access, drier ride in whitewater, but not near as forgiving as inflatables. tracking is much better (think wind and flat water). nicer to fish from (fewer line snags) things don't get knocked out of the boat as easily.

rafts and studded boots- get heavy rubber stall mats and cut to shape to protect floor. DO NOT STEP ON FRAME- studs will put a gouge in there most every time that will eventually rip your waders.

rod holders- gear ties. rubber coated twist ties. better yet break them in 1/2 and Velcro-strap sections together first. simple and very fast once you get used to it. I do this every time on brushy rivers if I cant see the next run I plan on fishing.

i've owned aire, nrs and hi-side rafts, tho I wouldn't buy another pvc boat, aires are quality boats. drift boats are more dodge-chevy-ford but there are also a surprising number of crappy yugos, and kias, and don't forget ford escorts. beware of any companies touting there bells and whistles, a quality, well designed hull is what matters. wood is pretty and hi-maintenance, glass is cooler/warmer and slick, aluminum is recyclable. all can be strong. or not.

small personal inflatables have all the obvious benefits and limitations.

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post #22 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-23-2019, 03:17 PM
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I don't have a boat. I have a small fleet. I use a 16' Lund SSV with a Yamaha 40/30 jet drive for larger rivers and access convenience. I can carry one or up to two passengers, but that's the limit for the low power on this boat. For drifting rivers I use my Watermaster Kodiak. It's a one-person craft but carries enough that I have used it for 8-day float and fishing trips. And for packing upstream and floating back down I have Alpacka pack rafts which are hard to carry a Spey rod in, but it can be done. Alpackas don't carry much, but by going backpacking style, I did a 6-day float trip last summer. This fleet provides a lot of versatility. I only need more boats if I want a large enough raft to tackle Class IV rapids. So far I haven't had that need.
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post #23 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-23-2019, 03:56 PM
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RavenBC, it's a little hard to tell from that picture, but I'm 95% sure that is not a drop stitch floor. That stitching on the side has nothing to do with drop stitch flooring. With a drop stitch floor, it is super rigid (higher pressure) and you do not need a platform to stand on it. It is called drop stitch because of the joining of two pieces of polyester woven support fabric with thousands of fine polyester thread lengths.

"It can be inflated to rock-hard rigidity. You get hard-shell performance along with the easy transportation and storage of an inflatable."

A simple google search will show what it looks like.
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post #24 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-23-2019, 05:05 PM
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I elected to not get the floor attachments to stand on in my raft. The drop stitch floor is plenty hard enough to stand and while being stable at the same time. The floor attachment just looked like another place to have fly line snag and get caught between.
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post #25 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-24-2019, 12:19 AM
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With this Wooldridge Sport, our second Wooldridge, we no longer pay for a shuttle! We also get to go back upstream to the run that produced the day before.
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post #26 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-24-2019, 01:09 AM
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Currently the 11’ Sotar pontoon/ cataraft w/ web floor and anchor system. Good transportation and fairly versatile. Rolls up and fits in the basement of the RV. Transitioned fromClackacraft drift boat, rafts, AL fishing boats. All good, the right tool for the job.
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post #27 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-24-2019, 12:27 PM
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Those Jet boats really are sweet, but sometimes it's nice to not use gas, lessen carbon footprint, reduce noise, disturb the waters less, etc. It is very pleasant to drift a river. And, it can be very unpleasant to be out there and a big old jet boat comes ripping through and just crushes the water. Kind of like living right next to an airport. Sure, planes are great and get you where you need/want to go quickly and efficiently, but it is very unpleasant to live right in the path of the planes, isn't it?
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post #28 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-28-2019, 10:44 PM
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I’ve got a 16’ clackacraft that is a great boat, we use it on rivers and lakes with an 80# thrust electric motor and it lasts all day. I don’t know how to add a picture but everyone knows what they are.
I absolutely hate jet boats, nothing worse the swinging a run and having one come ripping up through almost knocking you over with the wake. That being said I want one, a small one for accessing places like the lower Klamath and a few others and to not have to worry about a shuttle.
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post #29 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-29-2019, 09:09 AM
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Cool topic. From largest to smallest:

16 foot Skagit River Flatbottom Aluminum Jet Boat-Built by my dad in the mid 80s, I acquired this a few years ago and have been modifying it to how I fish. It has a 90 HP Mercury and I replaced the 8 HP kicker with a Yamaha (twice, first time got stolen). The design was originally used for side drifting steelhead on the Skagit, then the Cowlitz, and finally on the Clearwater. However, the interior is very open and provides a stable platform for fly fishing lakes or rivers. While I hear and appreciate the comments on jet boats, I have found that the places I use it do I rarely see other anglers and when I do, they are almost always fishing from a boat as well. It is not a good large-lake boat as the flat bottom does not do well with chop but works great on places like Rufus Woods, where there is some current but doesn't get real bumpy with the wind. Needless to say, I really enjoy fishing out of it, much of that due to the memories of still fishing "silvers" (kokanee) as a kid and later steelhead on the Skagit.

11 Foot Sotar Pontoons and a Catchercraft Frame-The 22 inch diameter pontoons makes this a beast of a boat, very stable and anchors extremely well but at over 6 feet wide, it takes a trailer to haul it around. Still, I'm confident in taking this boat just about in any river I have a mind to row.

10.5 Foot Aire Tributary with Catchercraft 2-Person Frame-Just got this recently, we put in some Honeycomb floors to avoid walking/standing on the factory floor system by Aire. It is a great two-person boat, stable enough to fish on the move but fits in the back of a truck inflated so no trailer needed. I'll probably sell this one and upgrade to a 13 foot raft so I can two two anglers plus the rower.

10 Foot Clackacraft Coastal Drifter-Fiberglass Pram. I believe the model was discontinued for awhile but they may have brought it back. I have owned this boat the longest and have caught more fish in it that all the rest of my boats combined...mostly because of the high catch rate of allowing you to effectively anchor bow and stern and fish midges till your arms fall off. I replaced the original galvanized trailer with a custom aluminum one and now, I can't see selling this boat for any reason or price. One of my favorites and the best tool for small lake stillwater fishing.

10 Foot Catchercraft 1-Salt Steelhead-Basic 10 foot pontoon boat with stand up floor, rear deck, and has a Leelock anchor system. Pontoons are a foot shorter and a few inches smaller in diameter; other than that, functions the same as the 11 foot Sotar boat.

9 Foot Jack's Plastic Welding Mosquito with Catchercraft Freestone Frame-This is a floorless raft that allows you to fish Fred Flintstone style...works great for single hand fly or gear fishing in rivers and works well in lakes for trout when in Skeena country and the rivers blow out. My go-to boat when exploring new areas because it is light enough (40 pounds) to use by myself and fits on the back of my truck tonneau cover with four straps. Allows for easy transport and incredibly efficient fishing.

9 Foot Sotar Custom Floorless raft with a Catchercraft Freestone Frame-same as the boat mentioned above except the boat was about three times as much as Jack's boat. The material is a bit heavier and stiffer but is bomb proof and I imagine it will last a lifetime. Generally doesn't see much use unless I take a friend and we pair it up. But performance is top notch.

8'8" Catchercraft Super Cub-This is a brand new model that we recently introduced-just a tad smaller than the Freestone, we designed a back pack that has separate carrying compartments for the frame and boat and allows a very nice, compact, fairly light boat to be stored into a single bag/backpack for easy transport. I plan on doing some ferry fishing later this summer with this boat.

Alpaca Packraft-Bought this from a fellow poster (Salmo G) a few years ago because I heard so many good things about them and the fact that it is so light and compact. I bought this for a few specific places in mind; no doubt it will fill a very specific niche when I have/make the time to make those ideas a reality.

Two 6 foot X-Stream Cutthroat pack boats-I bought one and liked it so much for alpine lake fishing that when another used one came on the market, I bought it too, since they had been discontinued. I'm guessing the whole thing weighs 15 or 20 pounds. You can use fins or the built-in aluminium oars. These boats get a lot of use for hiking into lakes a mile or so from your truck; they open so many opportunities. Great design by Sos, he still makes the soft goods for Catchercraft...great guy.

In looking at my boats, I see that I have three sets of two similar-styled boats. I suppose I acquired two of the same models for when going with friends so they can use the second. However, my kids never really got into fishing like I did and most of the time I fish alone, which just means I can fish as long as I want or leave when I want and don't have to share water. Maybe my wife will get into it more as the kids vacate the house. But then I need her to shuttle my vehicle. Guess I better keep the jet boat to take her along at times when a shuttle is not needed.
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post #30 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-29-2019, 11:33 AM
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Catcherman, I love how many boats you have!
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